Media outlets in the Mideast and Russia both focus stories on credit card loophole
Planned Parenthood chapter spent 89% of $585,236 funds on political activity (Open Secrets study), leading to new support by TBAF for disclosure for c-4s that disregard the 50% limit
Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ), Louie Gohmert (R-TX) and Walter Jones (R-NC) and I push reform legislation at a press conference
1. The headline in Al-Jazeera story from Bernie Sanders' campaign quote
The "search" for the problem would not take long. A quick read of USA Today a couple of weeks ago indicates an overseas religious movement appears to have given campaign contributions in the names of Americans of modest means who knew nothing about the candidates to whom they supposedly contributed. Keep in mind it was the Washington Post that reported the $174,000 that was given to President Obama's campaign in the name of a lady who said she had never given ANYTHING to the campaign. To be clear, we are not suggesting in any way that the campaign knew anything about this attempt to illegally contribute to someone else's name. But with bad actors - some overseas - willing to go so far as to give money IN THE NAME OF Americans, it is hard to believe there is no problem with those same people having someone type in thousands of $200 credit card contributions to a campaign that was not verifying the addresses supplied, with virtually no chance of being discovered.
2. Media Outlets Based in Mideast and Russia Apparently Take Loophole Seriously
Bad groups and individuals overseas are certainly aware of how easy it is to make these contributions, as both the official Russian newspaper Sputnik, and now the Mideastern media outlet Al-Jazeera wrote about one of two press conferences on this loophole. There are clearly groups and people in Russia, the Mideast, and through every region of the world that have money and a great incentive to impact US elections and policy. Why make it easy to have a bunch of people key in one credit card contribution after another without using the banks NORMAL verification process that is currently used unless a campaign opts out.
3. Planned Parenthood Biggest Violator of Limit on Political Spending in Open Secrets Report
Even political campaigns themselves do not spend 89% of their money on politics - there is always some overhead (rent, legal, accounting etc.). Therefore the Open Secrets report that a Planned Parenthood Chapter in St. Louis spent 89% of their money over a four year period - $523,006 - on politics was hard to imagine. In fact, while they were not the only violator, six of the top 13 violators in the report was by Planned Parenthood chapters.
I was quoted in this story the same day as Congressman Gosar's press conference (see next item), but had not seen the staggering numbers at that time.
While Take Back Action Fund (TBAF, a 501c4 itself) has supported the education papers outlining the policies of Take Back Our Republic (TBOR, a 501c3), this report led to an emergency call with those involved only with TBAF (Board member, top Volunteer Coordinator, etc. who do NOT hold positions with TBOR) to discuss how to address this report. TBAF would like to go further than the position papers outlined on the TBOR website and require that any 501c4 that willfully disregards the 50% limit (allocating over 60% toward political or repeatedly topping 50%) must disclose all donors. We want this to apply regardless of ideology, and if a pro-life group were spending anywhere near 89% of its total revenue on electing candidates TBAF would apply the same rule, just as we would voluntarily disclose donors if we did the same thing out of our budget (which in 2015 is a tiny fraction of these Planned Parenthood budgets, and we are nowhere near 50% of expenditures).
4. Congressmen Gosar, Gohmert, and Jones Unveil Legislation
In addition to advocating the new policy above, the members of TBAF were also supportive of the first legislation to come out of an Education Papers produced by TBOR. Despite being introduced at the end of the Congressional Session, two dozen Members of Congress co-sponsored the legislation despite it being introduced just days before the recess. The photo shows (left to right) me, Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ), and Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX). Walter Jones (R-NC) is unfortunately not in the photo because he arrived from other Congressional matters shortly after photographer left.
The bottom line is this: In our quest for conservative solutions to campaign finance reform, we continue to strongly encourage conservatives to acknowledge Americans are fed up our current campaign finance system, which is why it was right up there with homeland security, size of government and taxes according to viewers of the last GOP debate. I also encourage progressives who have backed campaign finance reform not to in turn attack the first campaign finance reform proposal that introduced by some Republicans (and a couple of Democrats I will note).
This legislation is a chance for both to come together on one solution to one of many problems.
TBAF Board Members Respond to Rare Unanimous FEC Decision Regarding Proposed Facebook AdsMembers of the Take Back Action Fund Board of Directors responded to a unanimous decision by the Federal Elections Commission that its proposed Facebook ads potentially advocating the defeat of Democratic candidates based on hypocrisy over disclosing political contributions involving Russia and other issues.
"I've been running hard-hitting political ads that play by the rules for years," said TBAF Board Member Charles Hellwig, who first worked with TBAF President John Pudner on Ollie North's run for US Senate in 1994. "However, if the FEC had deadlocked again on a Facebook matter it would have sent a clear signal that we were free to pay to run our attacks through Facebook without ever having to say Take Back Action Fund was the one paying for the ads. We are happy we made this point, and that every group now knows they can no longer assume the FEC will deadlock and be una…
AUBURN, AL- This week the Take Back Action Fund Board, which leads a 501c4 dedicated to political reform, elected Perry O. Hooper Jr. as its newest member. He will serve a one-year term. Take Back Action Fund (TBAF) was founded 3 years ago by its President John Pudner, the Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic (TBOR), a 501c3 organization, to advocate for policies and solutions that go beyond the scope of TBOR.
“Perry Hooper (left in photo above) has been a leading conservative figure for decades, and we are thrilled to add his wisdom and experience to our team,” said Pudner, who is in the Capitol Wednesday discussing the foreign trade ramifications of secret political contributions through massive unverified gift card programs that could be fixed by passing HR1341. “Throughout his career, he has demonstrated a genuine people-centric view of public service, and he has been a true reformer. His commitment to our cause, combined with the fact that he has been a part of nearly ev…
BIRMINGHAM, Alabama - May 15, 2017 - The Take Back Action Fund Board met today in Birmingham and elected Randy Brooks Chair.
The Board also elected Juleanna Glover, John Pudner, Charles Hellwig and Marty Connors to one-year terms.
Two years ago Pudner, the Executive Director of Take Back Our Republic (Take Back), a non-partisan 501(c)3 organization (see details on www.takeback.org), announced the formation of Take Back Our Republic Action Fund (Action Fund). He noted that some strong conservatives with deep experience in politics, campaigns, and government believed in the educational effort of Take Back, but sought to advocate policies and implement specific solutions activities which go beyond the scope of the efforts of Take Back.
The group currently advocated the passage of HR1341 and other campaign finance reform measures.
The bios of the members are as follows:
Randy Brooks, CEO of Avast Real Estate, built his real estate operation of more than 100 people with his method of per…